"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Monday, June 30, 2008

My New Old Train Case

This old cosmetic or 'train' case has traveled with me to many an overnight trip and many a dog show. She is quite old and her lid has a little creak in it when you open it. She has some worn out spots here and there, and a small thin crack in her tray which I am always careful to remember when the urge to overstuff it presents itself. I like to keep her stocked with duplicates of favorite toiletries and cosmetics and hair brushes so when I am ready to go, she is too. Her aqua blue satin ruffles that hold the mirror to her lid are a little crooked, but still charming to me. For the last Monday of Suzanne's Make Your House A Home Challenge, I decided to do a little something special just for me and give this old case a new look. (Hey, if mama ain't happy then nobody's happy, right? :) ! ) The case is always out in my bedroom and I do find myself going into in quite frequently. I purchased these German Victorian avian and floral scrap from Donna at Blue Bird Lane on Etsy and a few from Tinsel Trading Co. in NYC. Donna also had some lovely vintage seam binding in some lovely aqua and turquoise colors that were calling my name so I bought those too. I decoupaged the little birds and flora all around the case and then wrapped the handle with the lovely seam binding. I really liked the way it turned out! I will post a photo of it in the morning. -CS ^..^
p.s. I'm hoping that some of the photos we took with Mary Elizabeth's camera at the Corgi Convention turned out. If they did, I'll post them for you in a couple of days. It was such a fun day, but such a hot scorcher of a day that we really didn't take too many photos. When the Corgis were not on the walk along the Hudson, they were hiding in the shade. Except for Bridget, who for some reason felt the need to climb onto my lap and be fed ice chips while her hot breath slobbered my neck! Cat ^..^

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Welsh Corgi Convention

Mary Elizabeth and I along with some Corgis are planning to attend the Welsh Corgi Convention sponsored by the British Memorial Garden in New York City this Saturday. We hope to see many of you there! -CS ^..^

Monday, June 23, 2008

Soap & Water

For Suzanne's challenge today, I decided to fess up to one of my little obsessions. I love soap. I seem to have soap radar when I visit any sort of gift shop. I especially love artisan and hand made soaps. Maybe I love soap so much because my hands always seem to be in water. Cooking hands, cleaning hands, painting hands, gardening hands, crafting hands, Corgi slobber hands...yep, lots of soap and water. For me, part of making my house a home is to try and make those spots we all use quite frequently, a little more special. Special doesn't have to mean expensive. Keeping the bathroom sink sparkling with a fresh fluffy hand towel or two and a pretty soap in a lovely little dish doesn't take much effort, really. Even a plain old bar of Ivory becomes special in a vintage rosy tea saucer with a soft bristled wooden nail brush. It is always fun to put out special soaps and finger towels for holidays; but why not put a teensy bit more 'special' into the 'common' days? Every day with those we love is a gift. Little touches here and there let our family and friends know we think they are special every single day. How nice it is when your loved ones come home from a long work day to find a little refreshing retreat waiting for them to freshen up. If you live alone, all the more reason to do it for yourself! You deserve a little 'special' every day, too.

I just can't bring myself to actually use this last Crabtree & Evelyn Corgi Soap. Years ago I bought a few. I used a couple, gave one to Mary Elizabeth, donated one in a Mayflower silent auction goodie basket, dropped one and broke an ear off (so used that one too.) If you haven't guessed, the box is a Tasha Tudor illustration. Cute as can be, right?

I think I will let the Corgis out, have a quick shower and actually try and get a good night's sleep. Hmmm.....now what soap to use? -CS ^..^

baby birdies...

For those of you who may be wondering who won the battle of the fuschia plant, wonder no more. It is birdies-1, Cathy-0. When I hung my lovely lush new plant, I didn't expect it to be taken over by these little industrious feathered friends. I apologize for the fuzzy photos which were taken through the window glass as I didn't want to disturb the new parents who keep giving me 'what for' every time I enter or exit. I find it amusing that the plant marker-tag describing the type of fuschia says "Dark Eyes" and the only dark eyes I've seen are the ones peeping at me from the nest. There are two birds that keep flying back and forth to the nest with bugs and things to feed the little babes. This is one of the busy duo. Happy Monday everyone! -CS ^..^

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Farewell, Tasha Tudor 1915-2008

It is with a sad heart that we must bid farewell to our beloved Tasha Tudor who passed away today at the age of 92. She has been such an influence and inspiration to me as an artist. I feel very fortunate to have been lucky enough to have met her, watch her sketch (effortlessly!) and to walk in her beautiful gardens. I am blessed by friendships I've made because of Tasha. Our deepest condolences to her family. All of the Corgis here at Reinwood have their little heads bowed in her honor and are sending up 'Arooooooooooos' to accompany her on her journey where I'm sure all of her Corgis will be running to greet her as she crosses the rainbow bridge. I envision Tasha in heaven having tea with Beatrix Potter and making preparations for her 1830's wedding to a Connecticut sea captain. Naturally, all invitations will be delivered via Sparrow Post. What fun she will have actually serving her Dundee cake to St. Nicholas himself! I can see Advent wreaths hanging from frothy white clouds and Tasha's garden where angels will dance. And Corgis. Lots of Corgis.

(photos by Richard Brown)

I will say goodnight leaving you with a portion of one of Tasha's favorite quotes:

Fra Giovanni's Salutation (1513 AD)
I salute you.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not,
but there is much that while I cannot give,
you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.
Take peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Take joy.

Farewell, Tasha. Godspeed. -CS ^..^

p.s. Tasha's family has established a memorial book if you would like to sign it. www.tashatudor.legacy.com

Monday, June 16, 2008

Taking Time For Tea & Love

So, after being away for a few days, one does have to come home and get things back in order. There is laundry to be done, things to be put away, Corgis to be bathed again. Yes, there is bathing even after a show to get any chalk that was blown around the grooming area out of their coats! My 'Make your house a home' challenge today was to actually stop in the midst of a cleaning spree and take time to have tea with my daughter. Sometimes, making your house a home is just as much about what you don't do, as it is about what you do. For me, if the house is basically clean, dinner is planned and everyone has clean clothes, it is OK (really, it is) for everything on my list not to be perfectly accomplished. It is OK to let some things go until tomorrow, or the next day. I find it is extremely important to keep priorities in mind and make my day reflect those priorities. There is something sacred about setting out pretty tea cups and pulling up a chair to carve out a pause from schoolwork, housework, artwork, etc. and being truly present for those we love. If I find things start to get too hectic around me, I try and pull back and ask myself that if I were to be called up to heaven today, what would I want my last day to be like? What would I be leaving behind for my loved ones? Would I regret not having spent time that day with them? It always helps me to find that balance between keeping the house organized and spending time with those I love. When I don't feel much like doing housework, I try and remember that every act of cleaning and organizing frees up the entire household to be with each other. Who wants to spend time in a mess when a fresh and clean house is so much more relaxing and inviting? I'd much rather spend 30 minutes having tea with my daughter than spend 30 minutes looking for a missing shoe or a clean towel or an important paper. Balance and priorities. Two things that I hope I will always remember to remember.-CS ^..^

Corgi Divas Puttin' On The Ritz

Greetings to all of my Corgi-licious friends! I'm back from the fantastic Mayflower Corgi Specialty Show. What a great time we had. What could be more fun than spending time with loads of Corgis and old friends and making new friends? Annie Baker's "Tina" was the well-deserved BOB. The baby puppy match was a success and fun to do, but I must say I'm happy to have reclaimed the space in my house where all of the match paraphernalia once was. I was so happy to have my cell phone ring on the way there on Wednesday to find Suzanne calling to say she and her daughter would be meeting me there. I haven't seen her since the garden tour at Tasha Tudor's last summer. After setting up everything for the match, I had a little time to jump in the shower in my hotel room. Just about to dry my hair and Suzanne arrived. After a minute of hello-hugs, she offered to take Bridget and Stella for a walk while I finished getting ready. Talk about being pampered! I even actually had time to put on some lipstick :) Suzanne was going to be a guest blogger here, but had a bit of trouble logging in. However, you can read Tasha Corgi's post of Suzanne's visit on her blog!

Anyhoooo....I along with a few other artists from our club (Ellen Childs and Susan & Linda Jacob) had been asked to decorate these terracotta Corgis for the Friday evening banquet. They would be auctioned at the silent auction. Susan took mine with theirs and had them kiln fired. I haven't worked with ceramics glazes in years so I was holding my breath until they were safely out of the kiln. It is hard to see them properly in these photos I took in the hotel room, but you can get the idea of how they turned out. The one on the left "Starry Night" has a sort of black glitter glaze which turns a midnight blue. She is holding a string of star beads and shimmery genuine Swarovski crystals were applied all over her. The center one entitled "I'll Be All In Clover,"I painted with an opaque white to which another soft translucent white was added for a special sheen, and then I painted her with shamrocks. Peridot and emerald green colored crystals were added in between the shamrocks and then her green feather boa finished her off. The one on the far right was my personal favorite. She is a self-portrait entitled "Self Portrait" (!) Me as a Corgi :) She has glasses (as do I) and paint splattered all over her paws. I used a 'chunky' glaze on her back which created a cool effect in the kiln. I gave her a beaded glass bracelet and Cindy Read crocheted her rainbow colored scarf/boa. I added fantastic red and aurora borealis crystals all over her. What can I say, I'm a sucker for glitzy. This little bohemian mini-me came with her own genuine micro-painting of her own self-portrait. The three did sell for an obscene amount of money which I am happy to report will benefit the Mayflower Welsh Corgi Club. Clicking the photos will enlarge them. Again, I apologize for the hotel room photos! Well, off to straighten up the house a bit. Hmmm.....what shall I do for Suzanne's challenge today? Must think about that one. Have a happy day! -CS ^..^

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Splash Of Color...

And lest Suzanne think we'd let the day pass without remembering a little touch for her Make Your House A Home challenge, I give you my petunias. I bought these a couple of weeks ago when I got the fuschia plant (a.k.a. birdie nursery, looking more pathetic every day and fiercely guarded by the resident egg sitter...) and my has it grown. I had originally intended for it to hang in one of the usual places around the house. It is such a riot of color that I just decided to give it a place where it can really be seen and hopefully continue to grow. Sooooooo.....I bought this pretty scrolled bracket at the nursery down the road and hung it outside of this railing so you see it when you pull up into the driveway. It is such a pretty sight and a lovely 'welcome home.' Late yesterday we had quite a windy rainy thunder-and-lightening storm and Miss Petunia stayed securely hooked to her new bracket. I think she likes her spiffy new spot. Grow baby, grow! -CS ^..^


We've been busy getting everything ready for the Mayflower Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club Baby Puppy Match which is this week. One of the things we need to do is to get all of the prizes ready, wrapped, sorted and labeled to make it easy for the stewards to hand them to the judge to give to the winning puppies. Part of the prizes for each class are plush dog toys.

You can probably imagine the wild de-stuffing frenzy that would occur should all of the Corgis be nearby when opening this very large box of dog toys. We thought it best to put the Corgis behind closed doors while beginning the task of sorting and wrapping the adorable soon-to-be prizes. Bridget was just laying on the settee and didn't seem too interested in the box so we figured it would be fine to let her hang out. Ha! As soon as the box was cracked open, she hopped down to see what was inside.

Alas, the thought of sinking her teeth into a soft, plush, brand new squeaky toy proved too much for this Corgi to endure and she succumbed to the temptation that surrounded her.

Luckily, I bought a few extras!
Happy Monday, everyone! -CS ^..^

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A little night grooming....

Bridget was the first to try out the spiffy new shampoo I found on Etsy. Here she is waiting for her blow dry...

After we were done, Her Majesty decided she would catch 40 winks on the grooming table rather than help me put away the dryer and towels and clean out the tub.

"Cookie? Did someone say cookie?"

No sooner did Bridget come down from the table and I put the dryer away when Weebles decided the grooming table was a good place to chill out. Maybe she secretly wants to be a Corgi?

Have a lovely evening everyone! -CS ^..^

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cleaning Up The Studio

We could have chosen to stay snug as a bug-in-a-rug in bed like Bailey this morning:

Or, we could hop to it and join in Suzanne's Make Your House A Home Challenge and do something about this messy studio shelf:

I decided to tackle the shelf; without the help of any mice or bunnies or Corgis, I might add.

What is on this shelf, anyway? Well, besides the obvious mish-mash of paintbrushes, there are plastic cups filled with pens and Lord knows what. Old dog show ribbons (oh yeah, 1999 I'm looking at here? Geez...) that I will do something with 'someday,' books that belong elsewhere, an empty box that was too pretty to throw out which contained Sugar Plums at Christmas from a friend (OK, stop laughing, I'm baring my soul here. ) wooden eggs to paint, a few micro canvases and little easels, some paint, you get the picture, right? Well, time to move it all and sort. Everything was taken off of the shelf and the shelf was cleaned with some Caldrea Lavender and Pine scented cleaner. I remember hearing once that a good place to start when you need to do a task is to tackle what makes you craziest first. I don't know why there are dead pens and markers in here. Throwing out a dried up marker when you go to use it would be the logical thing to do. Why do I put them back into the cup and try another? Put that on my list of things NOT to do anymore. All of the pens and markers were taken out of the plastic cups, tested, tossing the dead ones and putting the keepers on the desk where they belong, in a ceramic cup. The old ribbons I put with the dog stuff. Still need to figure out what to do with those. I sorted the paintbrushes into rounds, flats and 'other' which includes fan brushes, rakes, sculpting tools, stuff like that. A little mannequin from across the room and a little forget-me-not plant in progress added a clean looking 'something' to the shelf. The little Claude Monet doll my mom brought back for me from the J.Paul Getty Museum. Isn't he cute? Now he's got his own corner, standing watch over an easel and a gilded frame.

Ta-da! Better!

MUCH better!

Happy Monday, everyone! -CS ^..^